Taste of India, taste of authentic homemade food. Our Travel & Taste journey from one of the recent posts continues. So does our trip to India, MyIndia. We are behind our first travel to India experience, exploring it from A to Z. Did you miss reading it? Don’t worry, Part 1 and Part 2 stories are here for you.
This time I want to take you for a culinary travel to India. Where can you find the best food, no matter the locations? At home! Yes, it is about Indian home food! Have you tried Indian food, were you lucky to taste home made one? And if you live in India, what are your top two dishes that you enjoy having at home?
Join me for this special journey: Indian home cuisine.
TASTE OF INDIA – SPICY OR SUPER SPICY?
How to describe best Indian cuisine? Watch ‘Queen’ movie, if you haven’t yet. Queen, visiting Paris, goes to one of European restaurants. Owner asks her: “Do you need anything else?” Her reply is…
Sauce. Garlic and ginger. Burnt. Dry chilies. And lemon. Lemon you squeeze in this. It becomes very good. It has less salt.
Owner answers: “you know it is not Indian food?”.
Yes, Indian food is full of taste and spices, it is rich and flavorful. I guess that thinking about Indian food first things that come to the mind are:
- Spicy & masala
- Butter chicken
- Chicken tikka masala
- Rice & curry
- Mango lassi
After my first two visits to India, back in 2009, my thought was “spicy or very spicy”? Only later I learnt that in most of the places one can ask for ‘zero spice’ or ‘less spice’. I am super lucky, I have married a real master-chef! Yes, My Better Half is a great cook! I am sure that if there was an a vegetarian Master-Chef edition, he could win it easily! And Our Bigger Angel learns keeps on surprising me with her cooking skills as well!
So often these days eating Indian food passes for spirituality. I don’t meditate, I don’t pray, but I eat two samosa’s every day.Dan Bern
My key learning: in India I have learnt how to use spices and not to be afraid of them! My ‘new’ favorite spices are: turmeric, coriander powder and cumin seeds. All of them super healthy! Before I would just add a pinch, now it is adding full tea spoon/s. Give it a try! Get ready for your next travel to India!
FIRST: FEW TIPS!
Before my first travel to India I have enjoyed Indian food in the local Indian restaurants in Poland. That’s where I tried Indian cuisine for the first time. Was it different compared to my first visit in India? Yes. Indian food in Poland is adjusted for the customers, mainly less spicy. Guess similarly to the Mexican cuisine.
So before you try food in India, especially home made one, let me share with you some insights!
vegetarian and non vegetarian
Don’t expect non vegetarian food not only in the vegetarian restaurants but also when visiting families who are vegetarians. Get ready for yummy veg food instead!
spicy & masala
In the restaurants ask for “zero spice” (not less spice), at least for the beginning! If you are visiting someone at home, just ask in advance to limit spice level. Also remember that masala means “spices” but in fact it refers to “rich in spices” food = spicy! And in India, it can get very spicy!
lemon, yogurt or ghee
Still too spicy? I understand you! 🙂 Just ask for one (or all 3!) survivors: lemon, yogurt or ghee (clarified butter), it should help to reduce spice level. And if you happen, by mistake or by bad luck, to eat green chili, ask for an ice cube or glass of yogurt.
eating with right hand
Eating with hands is very common in India, especially at home. Many people eat with hands also at restaurants. And, in fact it is with one hand only, right one. So during your visit in India – give it a try, great experience! And don’t worry, hand washing areas are available everywhere.
eating with spoon
If not hands, then the next option is spoon. Eating with spoon is very common in India, often instead of the fork. That’s something that I learnt just during my visits here. When we eat at home, we always prepare spoons for all and one fork for me. Don’t worry, forks and knives are available everywhere, just ask.
OIL, GHEE & BUTTER
Food in India is rich in oil, ghee or butter. They are used both during preparation phase and often also as a ‘topping’ for selected dishes. My family knows: ‘less ghee or butter for me, please’.
WATER FOR GUESTS
Visiting someone as a guest, water is served first, just after entering the home. And water is always still. I have never came across sparkling water in India (unless 4/5 star hotels).
TEA & SNACKS
After served water, still before dinner – the next to enjoy is coffee or tea (chai, tea with milk) served with salty snacks. In many European countries, coffee and tea is served at the end – with something sweet. So just be strategic: more food is on the way, in fact – entire dinner!
One thing is sure: you won’t be hungry. It is a ritual: guests should be fed nicely and really a lot! So just enjoy the food and its each bite!
indian HOME FOOD THAT IS TOO GOOD!
Which Indian home-food do I adore? Items are many, sharing below my favorite 6 dishes! Would you like to prepare them too? Don’t worry, in the next week post I will share with you all the secret ingredients and steps for making these delicious dishes. Food that is simply too good!
Egg curry is a popular vegetarian dish of India (non-vegan). My first curry that I felt in love with! Different regions of India have their own versions of egg curry. Additionally, often we do the same variation – replacing eggs with paneer. Yummy too! In fact sometimes I am undecided which one I like more. We enjoy it most when served with malabar (Kerala) parathas. It is a great option for dinner parties, as well as casual lunch. Benefits: many, taste: delicious!
Bharwa Shimla Mirch (stuffed Capsicum curry)
Bharwa Shimla Mirch is one of my absolute favorite dishes in India, originates from Punjab! And I don’t know why I tried it only this year! Yes, My Better Half prepared it one day… too tasty! One of the best lunches I ever had! Capsicum can be stuffed with paneer cheese or potato filling. I recommend paneer one. It can be served with paratha or roti. Bell peppers, loaded with goodness of protein, paneer and tasty ingredients, create a balanced meal for everyone.
Baingan Bharta (roasted eggplant mash)
My Better Half keeps on surprising me with delicious homemade food. One of such food items was Baingan Bharta. It is a dish that originated in the Punjab region. It is a vegetarian dish that is prepared by mincing eggplant, its main ingredient, that is grilled over charcoal or direct fire. I love this taste of grilled eggplant! Usually it is eaten with rotis and yogurt. Too yummy! Baingan Bharta is rich in fiber, folic acid and vitamin C.
My favorite Southern Indian home made food? Coconut chutney! It is a side dish and condiment but so yummy that one could just eat it, searching for an excuse “I need a dosa”! Coconut chutney is a super common side-dish in India. It is made with coconut pulp ground with other ingredients such as green chilies and coriander. I love it most when served with homemade dosas or idlis. Yum! Plus, there is always fresh coconut to be eaten. That’s one of my (and Our Little One‘s) favorite snack! Coconuts are rich in manganese, copper and iron, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant.
Jeera Cookies (cumin seeds cookies)
I discovered jeera cookies just when I relocated to India. Yum! Taste that I missed in my life! Imagine: buttery cookies with roasted cumin seeds! With a cup of coffee or chai! I tasted them first time during one of our weekend travels and liked so much that I became jeera cookies master at home! 🙂 Very popular in India as afternoon snack. This egg-less bakery biscuits are also easy to bake with kids. Benefits of cumin seeds are unlimited: rich source of iron, promote digestion, help with diabetes, improve blood cholesterol, promote weight loss… simply, there is no reason to skip them!
Who doesn’t love mango lassi? Lassi is a popular traditional yogurt based drink that originated in India. My favorite version is mango one! Plus so many benefits! It is a perfect blend of protein, fiber and starch. Additionally, the probiotics from yogurt strengthen digestive system and help increase the good bacteria in your gut. Plus… it is so so tasty! The best during mango season!
VIRTUAL FOOD TASTING
‘Here are a bunch of authentic Indian recipes that will make you a master in the kitchen. A delicious dish for every occasion, weather a dinner party or a family meal. These tasty and lip-smacking recipes will bring food from different corners of India to your home.’
‘Get curried away with chef Varun Inamdar who teaches you how to make authentic Indian dishes.’
‘The definitive volume on Indian vegetarian cooking, winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook of the Year. Created by a noted author and lecturer, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine features more than 500 recipes, filled with fresh produce and herbs, delicate spices, hot curries, and homemade dairy, products.’
Moments that matter, no matter which home food.